Wichita likes Jason Aldean, and the feeling is clearly mutual.
On Thursday night, Aldean became the second musical act to commit an Intrust Bank Arena three-peat, performing his third headlining concert at the 5-year-old venue. Only George Strait has done the same.
Aldean, who also performed in 2012 and 2013, drew a crowd of 9,000 fans for Thursday’s show, a stop on his “Burn It Down” tour, which has been on the road since last May.
He didn’t burn anything down, but not for lack of trying.
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The show started with a series of exploding fireworks and bursts of flames shooting from gas jets on the stage. Aldean, wearing tight jeans and a light-brown cowboy hat, appeared from above it all, standing atop the image of a giant “A” as he performed the hard rocking hit “Hicktown.”
The fireworks and electric guitars continued into the next number, “My Kinda Party,” and by the time he slowed it down a bit for “Tattoos on This Town,” the arena smelled like the Fourth of July.
Aldean performed songs from all of his albums, including several from his current one, “Old Boots, New Dirt.” Early in the show, he performed his latest radio release, “Tonight Looks Good on You.” Later, he brought out “Burnin’ It Down,” the slow-paced, sexy hit that was the first single off his new album and quickly became one of the biggest hits of his career.
Among the other songs Aldean included on his latest visit: “Big Green Tractor,” “Fly Over States,” “Just Getting Started,” “1994,” “Night Train,” “Dirt Road Anthem” and “Crazy Town.”
During “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” a rowdy fan in the front row threw a beer cup onstage that pelted Aldean in the side of the head. Visibly angry, Aldean stopped singing briefly as the band continued and pointed into the crowd. He struggled with his earpiece through the rest of the song and had trouble regaining his composure until the next number, “The Only Way I Know.”
“It took everything I had not to go kick that guy’s teeth in,” he said, during the next break.
Otherwise, the singer, who almost three weeks ago married former “American Idol” contestant Brittany Kerr in Mexico, seemed to enjoy his brief stay in Wichita.
On Thursday afternoon, he was spotted playing basketball at the Central YMCA. Staff members documented the moment on social media.
Then, before the concert, the arena staff presented Aldean with a customized, motorized cooler full of beer on wheels. Kerr posted on her Instagram account a video of herself riding with Aldean on the cooler around the bowels of the arena.
Aldean’s opening acts were Tyler Farr and up-and-comer Cole Swindell, known for the hit “Chillin’ It.” In true country concert fashion engaged the crowd as though he were a headliner. And if history is any indication, he could be soon.
Both Luke Bryan, who opened for Aldean in 2012, and Jake Owen, who opened in 2013, have been back through town since to headline their own shows: Bryan at Intrust Bank Arena and Owen at Hartman Arena.